David Satter is profoundly disillusioned with post-Soviet Russia. Actually, that's putting it mildly; his new book, "Darkness at Dawn" (352 pages. Yale University Press), paints about as abject a picture as I've seen of the corruption, cronyism, lawlessness and incompetence that have flourished under Boris Yeltsin and his handpicked successor, Vladimir Putin.
Vladislav Achalov has only good things to say about Saddam Hussein. He is a "strong man," he says, "fighting for his country." A former deputy Defense minister in the U.S.S.R., Achalov met Saddam "several times" during his frequent visits to Baghdad, most recently last April at the Iraqi dictator's lavish birthday celebrations in Tikrit.
The U.S. government accuses Stanislav Aderin's company of supplying weapons to Saddam Hussein's army.Aderin, a senior executive at the Russian arms contractor KBP Instrument Design Bureau, hotly dismisses the allegations--with a somewhat discomfiting argument. "If our missiles were being used in Iraq, the American losses would be a lot higher," says Aderin huffily. "But since the American casualties are so light, I assume that our products aren't there."The Pentagon begs to differ.
George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin lately have been spending a lot of time on the phone with each other.In one of their most recent exchanges--soon after the U.S. president's Tuesday announcement that he was ending diplomatic efforts to solve the Iraq crisis--the Russian leader repeated his reasons for opposing military action.
Figuring out where the Prestige, a single-hull oil tanker that sank Nov. 19 off the northwest coast of Spain, originated isn't easy. The tanker was captained by a Greek, crewed by Filipinos and Romanians, owned by a Liberian-registered company, chartered by a Swiss-based Russian commodities trader and flew the Bahamian flag.
Will Vladimir Putin make a pre-emptive strike of his own? In Moscow, rumors are swirling of an impending Russian military move against Georgia. A source close to the Russian General Staff has told NEWSWEEK that military leaders have completed planning for an assault on the Pankisi Gorge, a remote canyon that has been used as a hideout by rebels from neighboring Chechnya.
Sitting behind the desk in his St. Petersburg office, Valery Gergiev is talking about travel again. "Ah, Air France," he says, brandishing the latest addition to his collection of frequent-flier cards. "They brought it yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet." Have no fear--he will.
For Oleg Deripaska, life divides neatly into before and after, and the line that separates them is the rise to power of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Three years ago Deripaska was just another obscure businessman, slugging it out in Russia's lucrative and brutal aluminum industry.
Russia's oligarchs were outsiders who became the ultimate insiders. Some of them started off as furtive traders in contraband goods. A few years later they morphed into multimillionaires, emerging from their lavish villas and chauffeured Mercedeses to call the shots at the highest levels of government.
To visit the U.S. Embassy in Kabul--or indeed most other places in this city--is to enter a time warp. When I recently visited Zalmay Khalilzad, the newly appointed American envoy to Afghanistan, young Marines decked out in full combat gear and desert camouflage waved us through the embassy compound toward a 1960s concrete hulk festooned with sandbags. "It's a little bit weird [living here,]" said our Marine officer escort. "Just take the 12-year-old beer.
Since September 11, NEWSWEEK's reporters have witnessed many momentous events, from ground zero to Afghanistan. Here, several of our frontline correspondents tell what they saw--and felt--in covering some of the most memorable moments in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.It was the first Friday--Sept. 14--and President Bush had come to inspect the ruined area not yet known as Ground Zero.
It's probably dangerous to use body language as a barometer of international relations, but I couldn't help being struck by Vladimir Putin's demeanor just before he left for his U.S. summit this week.The Russian President was leaning back in his seat, one arm raised to the back of his chair.